Updated December 31, 2012

Late September, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Canine Good Citizen Class - Day 1

Today was our first day of class in preparation to take the Canine Good Citizen test put out by AKC. If Pretzel passes, he will earn the letters CGC after his name. The test has ten elements, and the dog must pass all 10 in order to pass completely. Here is an overview of the test requirements that we will be training:

Test #1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger

Test #2: Sitting Politely for Petting

Test #3: Appearance and Grooming

Test #4: Walking on a Loose Leash

Test #5: Walking Through a Crowd

Test #6: Sit and Down on Command/Stay in Place

Test #7: Coming When Called

Test #8: Reaction to Another Dog

Test #9: Reaction to Distractions

Test #10: Supervised Separation

Other rules:

We have our work cut out for us, that's for sure! We practiced all 10 elements in class today, and this is how Pretzel did:

Test 1: Pretzel was pretty good at this, he stood at my side and didn't try to force himself on the person that greeted me. This is hit-or-miss with Pretzel, because some times we meet up with someone that for some reason is very attractive to him, and he wants to barge in on the conversation. Time to go out and meet more strangers for practice!

Test 2: This is a hard one, Pretzel wiggles and moves a LOT when petting, and often tries to roll over on his back. This is not allowed, so I am going to have to find a lot of strangers to pet him so I can correct him and teach him to stand still.

Test 3: He normally is good with this - but when I had him sitting for this part he was very all-over-the-place when the trainer handled him. He should be used to this from our dog shows, so I asked if I could stand him up in a stack for this portion of the test. They said I could, and this helped a lot, because he stood a lot better for his teeth and ear examination.

Test 4: Hah, this is the hard one. He pulls constantly! I have to use a prong collar when walking him, but I cannot use on on the test so I guess we will have to work more in a regular slip collar. The "loose leash" part worries me, because he still wants to surge ahead when he feels slack in the lead. He is good with turning and changing direction, but I am afraid the pulling will fail us.

Test 5: He did pretty good with this, until the very last pass when he lunged at the dog sitting in the middle...a potential playmate! No more dog park playdates until this test is over, because he always sees other dogs as wrestling companions after every visit.

Test 6: I never really taught him "sit" since I was always told that a show dog shouldn't sit on command, but it looks like I am going to have to work on this anyways. His down is good, but sometimes it takes several commands to get him to lay down. He didn't do so hot on the stay tonight, nut normally he does really well with this (we do this a lot my the back yard).

Test 7: Coming when called is easy - he loves running to me!

Test 8: He did okay with this tonight. With half the dogs, he stood at my side and was polite, and the other half he tried to cross in front of me to greet them. More stuff to work on!

Test 9: He was really good with distractions (other than the bouncing tennis ball - he wanted to grab it and play!). Hauling him to dog shows and to the barn a lot has really helped, this dog has seen it all. Taking him to marching band practice was also good training for him!

Test 10: This could be our nemesis - supervised separation. When we practiced it tonight, I could hear him whining non-stop the whole time I was gone. I can practice this a lot, but he still always wants to be by my side or within sight of me at all times. *sigh*...

So there it is, our first class for the test. Two more classes, and then week 4 is test day! Stay tuned....

Sunday, September 30, 2012


I have been making the sit - down - stay commands a regular part of our day, doing them at random times and at random places. Pretzel is getting better and better! I am also doing it without food rewards, just lots of praise when he does it right. He seems to appreciate the love almost as much as the treats! This is good, since I cannot use treats on the test (plus I don't want to be locked into having to always have treats handy to get him to obey commands).

October, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bye bye garden hose!

When I got home from work, this is what I found in the kennel. Somehow Pretzel got a hold of the garden hose and pulled the entire 100 foot hose into his kennel and chewed it into 21 pieces...yes, 21 pieces. I counted! Ugh...as if I don't already feel guilty for having to work all day, and Pretzel is showing me his boredom.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CGC class, week #2

I am pretty happy with everything Pretzel is learning, he is doing all of the commands so much quicker and more accurately. However, the supervised separation did NOT go well tonight. He whined the entire time. This could very well be our failure. I don't know what to do. We tried it a second time, and the trainer tried holding some smelly treats in her closed-up fist. Pretzel actually didn't whine this time, he was too busy licking at her hand trying to get at the treats. Unfortunately, you cannot use treats when the test is given. I am going to try and practice separation as much as possible.

After class I took Pretzel to the barn with me and I tied him up to the arena gate while I rode. Normally I let him run around the arena with me, but I decided to try a little separation practice. He was in full sight of me the whole time, but he still whined non-stop until I was finished riding. he can't stand not being attached to me every moment of the day. I love that about him, and hate it also!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I brought Pretzel out to the barn with me tonight to run around while I rode. I was ready to canter my 2yo gelding, so I tied Pretzel uo in the arena so he wouldn't get underfoot while I was trying to train the youngster. Pretzel was tied IN the arena, where I was riding, in full sight of me at all times. You would have thought I was killing him! He whined, barked, whined, whined, ugh...it was non-stop. If he acts like this with me in plain sight, no wonder I can't get him to be OK with me leaving the room! We have 2 weeks until the CGC test. Not sure what to do other than keep trying?

Here he is - my faithful driving companion. He can leap over stools and horse jumps, but he cannot climb into my truck without me lifting his back end in. Why? I have no idea, other than I have always done it since he was a small puppy. Tonight I tried to get him to jump into the truck himself (he weighs 64 pounds now and is getting a bit heavy for me to lift!). Finally I managed to get him to clamber up into the truck seat, but it took a lot of effort!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pretzel "helped" me while I raked straw on the new grass at our property. I couldn't resist grabbing my camera and getting some shots of him in action.

What a handsome face!

Look at that gait...woo-hoo!

Enjoying the wide open space

Having fun with sticks!

Look at my pretend hunting dog! He was actually pointing at the cat. He froze in that point for the longest time.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tonight I took Pretzel to the barn and then to my band booster meeting at school. The more socialization the better, I think! He was very good, laid at my feed for the whole meeting and was happy to greet everyone as they came in. I love having a dog that is well-behaved and happy to go places. Every moment I have spent on training has been totally worth it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CGC Class #3...last one before the test!

Today I took Pretzel to the barn before our CGC class. he ran around with my horses, and ran with me while I rode. This took the edge off of his energy, which really helped us out at class.

Class went a lot better today. We had a distraction of a cat wandering around the classroom. Pretzel was interested, but not overly so since he lives with 2 cats and is used to them. Some of the other dogs were frantically trying to get at the cat. I was pretty proud of my boy! He was excellent at the sit, down, and stay, decent at walking on a loose leash, and a LOT better at the 3 minute separation. He only whined a little bit, and was vastly improved over last week! I hope we can keep improving, as our text is next Wednesday! I am already planning out what to do - make sure he is done eating early in the day, get him out to the barn for a run before class, and get there plenty early to practice and get him "bored" with the place. But before then, we have to get through our next dog show which is this weekend in Urbana! We've been practicing, and I worry about his gait because some times he paces instead of trots and that is a major fault. I really don't know how to train him out of that or what to do to keep him from pacing in the show ring. I am so dumb at this dog show stuff!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 1 - Urbana AKC Show

I got to the show grounds bright and early. I didn't have a whole lot of time to really get Pretzel worked down, I knew he was pretty wired from having been on his own for most of yesterday (though I did pay someone to come and take him out to the dog park for a half hour yesterday). We went in to the show ring, we were the only 6-9 month old puppy entered. My gaiting around the ring went well, my stacking was awesome, but when I had to do my down and back, he kept pacing. I kept stopping about halfway down the mats and brought him back to restart. Over and over again, and he kept pacing. the judge was telling me to go slower, and then demanding that I try it again, and again, and again. It went on for a while, and the judge was getting more and more agitated by our inability to fix the problem. I was really clueless, this is all still so new to me! Finally after getting completely frustrated with me, the judge gave up. She told me that I really didn't deserve a ribbon, but she was going to give it to me anyways but that I had better go outside and practice before the Winners class. I did, but didn't really get anything accomplished since I didn't know what to do to fix the problem. So...we went back in Winners and did the same thing. Ugh. On a positive note, the judge remarked several times that Pretzel was a very nice pup and she wanted to see him do it right. It was just so embarrassing...having the judge make me do it over and over and over again while everyone stood outside the ring and watched and waited on me to finish.

Some very good show friends came to my rescue to help me. One trick I learned that is if I did a very fast courtesy circle before doing the down and back - swing him around me and almost "slingshot" him into the gait - make him trot correctly every time without pacing. They also showed me a trick in putting the ring of the leash underneath his jaw so that I can hold his head up a bit more. This helped a ton. So, I started today feeling very discouraged, and ended today feeling a lot better.

Here is a very short video clip of a couple of his pacing strides:

Sunday, October 15, 2012

Day 2 - Urbana AKC Show

We showed very early today - 8:30am. the show was running fast and I barely arrived at the ring when I had to go in. I remembered all (most) of what I was taught yesterday, and Pretzel did great! We once again didn't get anything in the Winners class, but I was thrilled that he stacked well and TROTTED instead of paced.

Pretzel had a great time this weekend playing with his Weimaraner friends. I am really liking the dog show people. They are so helpful, and a lot of fun to hang out with. It's nice to meet truly friendly people for a change! I think I am getting hooked...at least for now! Our next show will be in 2 weeks in Delaware, Ohio. This might be our last show until spring. I have two weeks to practice what I learned and see what I can accomplish!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CGC Test Day!

WE PASSED!. I got home quickly after work and played with Pretzel out in the yard for a good 2 hours - lots of running and fetching. By the time we were done, he was in a good, focused mood. Our test was at 6pm, we got there early to walk around and practice. The first thing we had to do was the 3 minute separation, which was the one element I was very worried about. He was decently good for that - whined a little bit but not nearly as bad as he did a few weeks ago when we practiced...so he passed! After that, things went very smoothly, he was awesome! I am so proud, and excited because after January 1st the CGC will be an official AKC title and it will be added to his registered name!

The "Meet and Greet" - Test #8. Pretzel stood right at my side as I stopped to "greet" someone with a dog.

- Test #2 and 3 - sitting politely for petting, grooming, etc. Pretzel loves this part of the test!

Test #6 - the SIT portion of the test. Pretty darn good since I didn't even start teaching him to sit on command until 3 weeks ago.

Test #6...the DOWN command...

"STAY" command...

...and he stays perfectly without moving an inch!

Test #4 - walking on a loose leash

Test #9 - reaction to distractions. The examiner dropped a metal bowl, pushed a stroller around, etc.

After the test it was play time!!!

...and one last run through the tunnel, just for fun!

Next on our agenda will be the agility class! I hope to take that later this winter. It will be something fun to do when it is cold and yucky outside. Meanwhile, we have another show to do next weekend, and possibly one more in November before I hang it up for the winter.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All of our good citizen training has come in handy! Pretzel has been really good about his sit/stay exercises. Often when I am at the barn, I will put him in a sit and ask him to stay while I go into the tack room or go get something, and he has been staying put. He laid down and stayed the whole time I cleaned one of my stalls today.

His pacing issue is still about 50/50. I seem to be able to get him out of it when I pull him into a turn and then trot off from there, like I did at the show on Sunday. I just hope I can completely break this habit because there are times when the turning method will not be possible. We will see...our next show is this weekend! Could possibly be our last show until spring, and who knows what I will decide to do by then.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Delaware, Ohio AKC Show DAY 1

I questioned my sanity this morning as I woke up at 4:30am to get ready and drive the 2 hours to the dog show...we were first to go at 8:30am. It was an ugly, rainy, cold morning. When I got to the show grounds it was raining, so I found an empty barn to practice in. We practiced our gaiting and stacking for a while, then headed to the building where our ring was situated.

Pretzel was really wound up! Once again we were the only ones in the 6-9 month old puppy class. Yay, another blue ribbon for showing up! He gaited really well and stacked pretty good also, no pacing today!

After I was done showing, I met up with Pretzel's breeder. She had one of her professional handlers give me some pointers in stacking. I tend to stack the back legs a little too far, and also I don't get the front legs back far enough so they are straight. My main corrections are the front and back legs,and also getting his head up a bit as I stack him to stretch his neck out a little bit. Lots to think about...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Delaware, Ohio AKC Show DAY 2

We had a lovely night at the luxurious Motel 6 last night. It was full of dogs from the show. I was proud that MY dog didn't bark in the hotel room at all, unlike many others. What a good citizen he is :-]

Our show today went pretty much the same as yesterday. We were the only one in our class, didn't get a look in the Winners class. Someday...someday I would LOVE to actually take a Winners class. I got more help from another professional handler (I LOVE how professionals are always willing to take the time to help you and school you. Can you imagine professional horse trainers doing that at a show???). She lent me a set of blocks to practice stacking Pretzel. This will help him stand still and stand more "up". This will be fun to try in the next few weeks.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I tried the blocks out today. Pretzel wasn't too sure about them! I snapped a picture, then I adjusted them so the spacing was more correct for the stack. I will do a little bit of this each day after our daily run/play is done.

Our daily trips to the barn have been going well. I love having him at the barn while I ride, it's like having a good pal to ride with!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The joys of a well-trained dog

I commanded Pretzel to sit and stay...from horseback, while I was riding, and he obeyed! It was very cool, and made me believe that maybe I am doing something right with this whole dog-training thing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A sunny day in November, and a day off work...what else is there to do but go to the dog park?!?! Once again, we had the place to ourselves. It was still a good time :-)

Woo hoo, look at that trot! You can see Ralph the Great Purple Truck (with 267,000 miles on it) in the background.

Jumping the pvc jumps, we did it dozens of times as I tried to get the picture taken at just the right moment.

Pretzel always likes to play with this ball at the park. I need to find one to play with at home!

Pretty stack!!!

Pure joy!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What an utterly gorgeous day...sunny and 60 degrees. pure heaven for Ohio in November! Pretzel spent the day with me at our new property as I worked outside. We took a jaunt in the woods, his first time exploring "our" woods...fun!

Pretzel investigates the pond

Yuck, I think he is going to need a bath!

Our first trek into the woods. It will be a lot of fun once we move in to this property and we can explore the acreage every day

Taking a breather in the woods

Posing pretty!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mid-Ohio Cluster AKC shows, Columbus, Ohio

Well, we practiced hard the past few weeks - working on our stack and our gaiting, now it show time for a final time in 2012! This was another morning where I questioned my sanity - Got to bed at 1am and woke up at 4am! Pretzel was very confused as to why we were getting up in the middle of the night, but gladly ate his breakfast extra early!

We headed to Columbus, got there about an hour early so he could expend some energy playing with his two Weimaraner buddies. This was a pretty big show - 40 Weimaraners entered! I was excited for the competition. We were the very first class at 8am. Our gaiting around was very good (no pacing...yay!), he was a bit wiggly during the judge's inspection and kept trying to turn his head to look behind him at the judge. Our down and back was good, and for once we actually had 3 dogs in the 6-9 month puppy class! We ended up 3rd out of 3...disappointing, but oh well. We will get things figured out eventually. maybe he just isn't a show dog? He's my best friend, so it really doesn't matter in the long run.

After my class, one of the professional handlers that has befriended me took the time to teach me the finer points of stacking, and some tricks and tips on how to keep him straight and standing "up" on his front feet. Dog show people are so nice!!! I am determined to get better, if for no other reason than to do it for the people who have faith in me! We spent a lot of time off and on the rest of the day practicing. Tomorrow WILL be better!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mid-Ohio Cluster AKC shows, Columbus, Ohio

Someone needed to remind Pretzel that we both needed our sleep after the short night last night! He woke me up in the hotel at 3am. I thought he needed to go outside to pee, so down the stairs we went and out into the bitter cold. Nope, he just wanted to run and play! Silly dog! Back to bed we went, and when he whined again about an hour later I told him to be quiet, and he did.

Once again we were first thing in the morning. The first classes were the Weimaraner sweepstakes - no AKC points, but they awarded money instead. There were 4 in my class this morning. I remembered all the details I learned about stacking during my impromptu lesson yesterday,(other than the part about not rushing - too much 5-second setups in horse showmanship ingrained in me!) and we did a LOT better! Lo and behold, we got 3rd out of 4, we actually beat another dog! Banner day!

After the sweeps were done (yes, I won a whopping $7! That will buy me a couple bags of pretzels...woo-hoo!) our regular AKC classes started. We were first - 3 of us in 6-9 month puppy. I think my stacking was even better, and I actually felt confident and almost polished in what I did. That in itself is huge because confidence is everything. All 3 of us in the class gaited around the ring one last time, and I about fainted when the judge pointed at me and said "First!" I think most of my friends that were outside the ring watching also almost fainted LOL! It was an awesome moment, and now we got to go into Winners Dog (against the winners of the other classes) legitimately - we weren't going in by default because we were the only ones. It was a great feeling. I felt extra confident, and it showed - we ended up getting reserve winners dog! For me, that is a HUGE win!!!!!! With a little help from my friends, we finally got it all together.

One of the best things about the day? Getting to take a "win" photo with the judge! How cool! I can't wait until I get it...our first one. After we took the "official" picture, we went outside and did our usual "lay with the ribbons" picture. Pretzel was squinting in the sun, but I think it looks like he's got his game face on.

Pretzel naps after a long show morning with his BFF "Brennan". Those two play hard and pretend fight, but are really best friends!

Pretzel gets to enjoy a new chew toy as his reward!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Awesome photos!!!

My wonderful friend Michelle Steigmeyer took some photos of Pretzel and I at the show last weekend, and she uploaded them for me to see today. Some of the ones of Pretzel and I sitting together are so precious they actually bring tears to my eyes. Who knew I was such a sap? Here they are!!!

Being checked over by the judge

He is loving the undivided attention!

Check out that trot! Yeah, I know it's called the "gait", but remember I am first and foremost a horse person!

Having his teeth checked by the judge

Standing still is bo-ring!

Standing in the line, in front of me is my dog show mentor Kayleen, who has taught me so much!

Check out his eyes! I love this pic...

He still has a bit of the puppy look to him, doesn't he?

Turn and burn...look at him laying low on the turn!

Got ears????!!!???

No wonder why people mistake him for a greyhound sometimes!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am SO thankful for my best friend Pretzel! That goes without saying, doesn't it? I can't imagine my life without him, he is the best thing that has happened to me in 2012.

I think tomorrow we will be brave and try a new venture - showing at a UKC show. Those are a bit different than AKC shows, and I really have no idea how different or what I need to do, but there is one 10 miles from our house to it seems like a good chance to practice and try something new.

Friday, November 23, 2012

UKC Show - Wapakoneta, Ohio

It's always a little disconcerting for me to try something new all by myself. I tend to depend on the guidance of others when venturing into new waters. This time I was totally on my own - I asked questions online and read the rule book, and decided to get up early and head to a UKC (United Kennel Club) dog show about 15 miles from my house. I had heard that UKC shows were a lot more relaxed than AKC shows. Boy they weren't kidding! For one thing, they accepted entries the morning of the show (unlike AKC which requires you to enter 3 weeks in advance). I got there, and a nice woman at the entry table helped me fill out my entry form. Then I sat around and waited. they were running two shows back-to-back today, so I went ahead and entered both.

I noticed that with a small exception, most people were dressed much more casually than AKC. I saw a few people in suits or jackets, but many wore jeans and VERY casual wear. I am not sure if I like that, I like the crisp, professional look. Speaking of looks, I got a lot of them being the only Weimaraner at the show. Someone came up to me and said they had never seen a Weimaraner at one of their shows...!

I noticed a wide variety in handling. UKC does not allow professional handlers to handle other peoples' dogs for money, so I assume most people were fairly casual show people showing their own dogs. Several dogs paced on the down and back and the handlers never corrected them...either they just didn't notice or just figured it wasn't a big deal. Like I said...VERY casual!

Since we were the only Weim at the show, we won first place, Winners dog, and best of breed. Yay, congrats to us LOL! We went in for Group - they don't have a Sporting Group like AKC, but the group we were in was called the Gun Dog group (very similar). I hate that when I went to go in the ring, the ring steward told the judge I was brand new and this was my first time. OK, it was my first time at a UKC show, but not my first time showing! I made a joke about it being the blind leading the blind, and I think the judge took it the wrong way because she said emphatically, "I'm not blind!!!" She then proceeded to correct me and criticize me on every move, and ended up placing me last in group. Oh well...such is life!

I had a 2 hour break before the second show started, so I drove the 10 miles to the barn and let Pretzel run off some steam with my horses. He needed it, he was getting rather wound up (he misses his Weim show playmates!). When we got back, we headed into the ring and once again won our class, winners dog, and best of breed by default. I will say he was way more focused and our stack was awesome, as was our gait.

We went back in for group, and I had a great stack. I think his gait was the best we've ever done. his head was up, he was striding out and was in front of me at the end of the leash and it looked gorgeous. I was pretty happy when we ended up getting second in group (behind a Standard Poodle). It was a very good learning experience.

The show is going on all weekend. I think I will skip tomorrow and maybe head back to the show on Sunday. I'd LOVE to win group, wouldn't that be cool? I mainly want to see if I can get him shown as well as I did today.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

UKC Show - Wapakoneta, day 2

We headed back to the show today. Today seemed to drag on forever! we did a lot of running around the fairgrounds on the longe line (on the freezing cold!) to waste time and energy. Again they ran two shows today back-to-back.

obviously, again we won our class and breed (being the only Weim there!), went in to Group and got third. I think he stacked and gaited really well for me. Again we had a long wait - hours and hours - before the next show. That's the biggest drawback to these shows, and a big reason why I might not do them again. the people were friendly, but it was terribly boring sitting around by myself all day long. People were friendly, but no one went out of their way to actually hang out with me like they do at the AKC shows.

As I was waiting around for group, someone came up and asked me how I had placed in group the past few times. She then proceeded to tell me that if we placed in group again, Pretzel would be "finished", as in a UKC champion. Huh???? You've got to be kidding! Nope! I guess in UKC your class wins count even if you don't have any competition, and all you need are three group placements where you beat at least one dog, and your dog now has the title of UKC Champion. Of course, knowing this was an immediate curse, because we then went into group and didn't place. By this time he was really tired and a bit worn out from the show. I wouldn't say he was cranky (I have never seen pretzel cranky!), but he was definitely done! So we missed our chance at the easiest champion title ever, maybe next time (if there is a next time!).

In our course of waiting, Pretzel managed to eat (as in chew up and swallow every piece) two entire bully sticks. Yes, it was a long, long, long day! Good practice for us, and I am glad we did it, but I am not sure when we will do that again. There is a UKC show in Dayton next weekend, but I don't think I will feel like driving 90 minutes to hang out by myself all day at the show. We shall see...

Friday, November 30, 2012

I checked InfoDog.com today, and the results from the Columbus show were posted. It was very very very cool to see Pretzel's name as the winner!

It doesn't look like we will be doing any dog shows in the immediate future, so Pretzel is back to just being a dog, learning a few new commands, and having fun hanging out at the barn with me in the evenings. I will hopefully keep up on our stacking skills so we don't lose everything we have learned. Next on the agenda is to start some beginner agility training. That will be fun!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Owning a Weimaraner causes a complete lifestyle change, for sure! I can see why the breeders are so selective. this dog sure isn't for everyone. Pretzel is a coiled spring when I get home from work, and I had better make time for him and plan on some strenuous exercise in the evening...or else!. I don't mind, it somewhat fits into my own personal lifestyle -I work all day, then come home and change clothes and head to the barn to ride and do barn work. This gives Pretzel an opportunity to run run run in the indoor arena (convenient in bad weather!) and drive my horses batty :-].

Kevin and I attempted to take a family portrait with my laptop webcam the other day. You can see how well that turned out!

Monday, December 17, 2012

I filled out my class application to start beginner agility with Pretzel. I am excited, I think he will be really talented at this. My goal is to be able to attempt a class by the end of summer. He technically won't be old enough to compete in AKC until August 7, so we will aim for some time later that month.

Meanwhile we will keep plugging away at the conformation shows, attempting to earn our first point. Next on the agenda is possibly Novi, Michigan in mid-January. Yep, going to Michigan in January is a rather crazy notion! Since I have to enter 3 weeks in advance, we will be out the $$$ if the weather turns nasty. Cross my fingers and hope for the best, I guess! this show will be holding some agility classes, so I hope to catch a few rounds and pick some brains of people competing.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I have been reading the greatest book, called "Shaping Success" by Susan Garrett. It talks about her experience in training a very exuberant and overly-enthusiastic border collie for agility. Hey, I can relate! I love that along with the story of her dog, she talks about the exact training techniques she used. Here are two at the beginning of the book that I started with Pretzel:

Hand Targets - I am teaching Pretzel to touch the back of my hand with his nose on command for a treat. I use the back of my hand because when I show him my hand with the palm forward, that is his cue to stay. I move my hand to different places, say "Touch", and when his nose touches my hand he gets a treat. I did it a bunch this morning, but I think he really got it when I did it again this evening. This will help teach him to touch the target in agility, which is important.

It's your Choice - While Pretzel is lying down, I place a treat just out of reach on the ground. If he stays put, I give him the release command "Go get it!" and he ca get up and get the treat. I just started this game tonight. As he gets better, I will increase the difficulty by putting the treat closer and closer to him and testing his obedience.

I like the order of training priorities the author outlines, called "D.A.S.H." - D = Desire (Develop your dog's desire to be with you and to work with you), A = Accuracy (Make your dog complete each segment of the command accurately rather than the whole command all at once), S = Speed (You ask for speed only after your dog completely understands the response he is to give), and H = Habitat (You must change your training environment as often as you can to help your dog realize he is to follow the commands in the same manner regardless of where you are at).

This dog training stuff is getting very interesting! If you have read my horse training diary over the past 7 years you already understand that I am a thinking trainer and I tend to over-think and over-analyze ! I think that is just my way of learning new things - I try to decipher every facet of the process and master every possibility. We shall see if this works for dog training, as it is truly the blind leading the blind here! Pretzel would probably be way more successful if he was owned by an experienced dog trainer, but no one could possibly love him more than me!!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Pretzel's First Christmas!

Pretzel and I loaded up the truck on Christmas Eve morning and headed 3 hours to Lorain to my parents' house for the family Christmas celebration. I was a bit on pins and needles because my family is not exactly dog-friendly and allowing him to come was a big concession on their part. I prayed he would behave!

I shouldn't have worried - Pretzel was a real gentleman. I was very prepared, bringing lots of treats, toys, and stuff to chew on. He was happy as can be hanging out with the family and getting all sorts of attention.We stayed the night, and he got to open his very first Christmas present - and he managed to tear the wrapping paper off all by himself!

We are in for some fun times this year, because I got weave poles and a tunnel (dog agility equipment) for Christmas! We tested out the tunnel in my living room, and Pretzel ran in both directions with pure abandon. Gonna be fun!!!

Pretzel waits patiently to open his first present (from Auntie Karen (my sister))

Investigating the package...

There's something in there!

Ripping off the wrapping paper

He loves his new toy!


Look! An ornament that looks just like him!

Wednesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Look what came in the mail??? Our very first Win Picture!!!!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2012

Pretzel's first snowstorm!

Today we are under a blizzard warning, it is 11am and the snow is expected to continue all day. I couldn't resist going outside to get some snow shots. Pretzel loved the snow, he would have liked to stay out there all day but my fingers were freezing!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The roads were finally clear enough to head to the barn. Of course Pretzel came along to let off some steam! We stopped at our property, and had a good romp in the snow. The snow-covered trees made an awesome backdrop for photos.

At home, the main training segment we have been working on is touching the target. Up until today I was having Pretzel touch the back of my hand as the target. Today I bought a poster frame and cut a piece of plexiglass into a square (put tape around the edges so they wouldn't be so sharp) and started using that as a target. I am really surprised at how quickly Pretzel caught on, and I could either hold the target up or drop it somewhere on the floor and he would go touch it with his nose for a treat. Success!

Today was a banner day in Pretzel's "Being a good citizen" training. I had to leave him in the truck while I shopped at Wal-Mart. It was only supposed to be a quick trip, but I had a huge list and there were terrible lines at all the registers. When I finally got back to the truck, he was just sitting in the front seat checking out the activity. Nothing was chewed, nothing ruined...whew! This is important to me, because if I am going to be taking him pretty much everywhere all winter he needs to be able to wait patiently for me in my truck while I run the occasional errand. I lub this dog!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The blind is truly leading the blind!

Stuck inside with another snowfall, what is there to do other than to watch dog training videos and attempt some things at home? It's a bit more fulfilling than watching horse training videos (which is what I usually do), since it's not like I have my horse here in my living room to practice with LOL!

The more I watch videos on agility, the more I appreciate how dang HARD it is, and the more I realize how badly I want to do this! I have been working on touching the target, and today I broke out the new weave pole set I got for Christmas and set up two poles to practice with (after watching several awesome and informative videos). Here are some of my attempts at both:

I would love to hear what you think! Be kind...we are both new to this :-) If nothing else, Pretzel LOVES to train and is having a blast learning these skills. That is half the fun - seeing how much he enjoys it. It is fascinating how I can almost see his brain cranking and figuring things out. This is one smart Weimaraner!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Can someone explain to me why every time I take an action shot of Pretzel, he has a maniacal look on his face? I swear I never see these expressions in real life, but the camera always seems to capture them. You just can't deny he is a joyful dog!

Pretzel has been getting very very very needy lately. I actually think it is because I have been off from work the past week and a half, and have basically spent 24/7 with him...the more time I spend with him the more he demands. he is in for a rude awakening on Thursday when I am back to work every day! Kind of sad...I enjoy these days together. Oh to be independently wealthy and not have to work...*sigh*...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Well, the next time we chat it will be 2013. I have great plans for this upcoming year, so stay tuned! Join me in 2013 as I combine my horse and dog training diaries into one place (so you are forced to read both LOL!).

Training Diaries 2013 - click here